Posts

August 20, 2014

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8:52 PM | Thousands of California Kids Don't Get Past Middle School
LOS ANGELES - Devon Sanford’s mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer when he was in the eighth grade. After barely finishing at Los Angeles’s Henry Clay Middle School, he never enrolled in high school. Instead, he spent what should have been his freshman year caring for his mother and waiting for the police to show up asking why he wasn’t in school. No one ever came. “That was the crazy part,” he said. “Nobody called or nothing.” Although the […]

August 19, 2014

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5:04 PM | Teacher-School Match: Education Needs Long Relationships, Not 'One-Night Stands'
Teacher preparation programs should see themselves as matchmakers. We match professionals with schools and students who’ll hopefully consider their arranged partnership happy, healthy and productive. Communities benefit when new teachers share their fates with their surroundings. Matriculation and graduation are the few separation rates teacher prep programs should celebrate; in the very least, the public should expect students, schools and districts to get their dowries back. In order to […]

August 18, 2014

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11:17 PM | How Much Did Students Really Gain on Common Core Tests in New York? Data Don't Say
The main reason for annual standardized tests is to figure out how much kids are learning each year. But when New York released its 2014 Common Core test results on August 14, state education officials were selective in their data reporting and did not disclose actual student scores. Instead they released only the percentage of children hitting various proficiency thresholds. That makes it difficult for outsiders to understand how much New York students improved after their second year of […]
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11:09 PM | Getting Kids into College is One Thing, Getting Them Through is Another
NEW ORLEANS —When Pamela Bolton searched for a middle school for her daughter seven years ago, convenience, not college, was on her mind. She ended up enrolling her daughter at a new and untested middle school called New Orleans College Prep largely because she could get there easily. But New Orleans College Prep, and its partner high school, Cohen College Prep, ended up providing much more than an easy commute. Last spring a large poster of Bolton’s daughter, Imani, then a […]
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10:55 PM | Paying College Players- Cost of Attendance Stipends
The Raleigh, N.C. News and Observer had a front pager yesterday on the changes that are coming to college sports regarding paying players. There are so many issues, and so many questions, but a key one is understanding a key University concept, “the cost of attendance (COA).” Duke University’s COA for 2014 is shown below: Historically, the NCAA has prevented University’s from covering the full COA via an athletic scholarship, but the ruling in […]
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6:30 PM | Lawmakers Dabble in Early Education Reform
In our recent report, Beyond Subprime Learning: Accelerating Progress in Early Education, we put forth dozens of recommendations for federal, state, and local policymakers; teacher preparation programs at colleges and universities; community organizations; and school leaders to help the field better meet the needs of young children and their families and improve access to high-quality early education opportunities. New America is just one of many groups with ideas for how to improve […]

August 15, 2014

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8:50 PM | Increased Child Poverty Rate Disproportionately Impacts the Nation's Youngest Learners
The Annie E. Casey Foundation is out with its 25th KIDS COUNT Data Book, which has been providing the public with an annual glimpse into the well being of American children for the past quarter-century. As big anniversaries do, this one provides a natural opening to look at how we have fared. Trends were both positive and troubling during a time of major demographic shifts: The nation’s population of children climbed from 64 million to 74 million. The percentage of white children […]
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8:48 PM | How Long Does Med School Need to Take?
So much of the discussion of health care in America, at least lately, centers around insurance, and how to make the medical industry more efficient and cost-effective. But another potential reform holds a lot of promise as well. Should we be trying to get doctors thorough medical school faster? According to a piece at NPR: Some doctors in the state of California will soon be able to practice after three years of medical school instead of the traditional four. The American Medical […]

August 14, 2014

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3:00 PM | Kentucky State University President Takes a Salary Hit for his School
It’s odd that this happens so rarely given the financial constraints of academic institutions, but sometimes college administrators really do make big sacrifices for their institutions. Raymond Burse (below), since June the interim president of Kentucky State University, recently decided to give up part of his own generous salary to ensure that school’s lowest-paid employees can get raises. According to an article by Lillian Cunningham in the Washington Post: The 24 school […]

August 13, 2014

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3:00 PM | The Education Silver Bullet
Standard and Poor’s, the very non-partisan financial ratings agency, recently warned the country that we were soon facing big problems if we didn’t address inequality. No longer is inequality just a problem for American poor people, because they don’t have very much money. No, it’s actually going to start to be a problem for the economy as a whole. According to the agency: Standard & Poor's sees extreme income inequality as a drag on long-run economic growth. We've […]

August 12, 2014

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1:32 PM | Getting Boys - and Girls- Interested in Computer Coding
Thanks to the glorification of Silicon Valley riches and a desire to inspire more of the next generation of children to pursue science and technology careers, computer coding instruction for children is spreading like wildfire around the United States. Code.org , an industry-financed group that is promoting computer coding in schools, says that 31,000 kindergarten through eighth-grade classrooms are using its course, reaching 1.3 million students. It plans to train another 10,000 teachers […]

August 11, 2014

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9:17 PM | Teach for America Shows it's Learned a Lesson About Diversity: Now, What's Next?
Teach for America is browner than ever before. This week, the organization announced that 50 percent of its incoming corps of 5,300 identify as people of color. This compares to the less than 20 percent of all teachers nationwide. Whether friend or foe, all should be encouraged by the news that a mainstream organization is responding to the needs of our communities and country. The question I have is, how good does TFA look now that it’s beige? Click to read more Andre Perry. Not only is […]
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4:42 PM | Q & A With Author Elizabeth Green: Great Teachers Need ‘Specialized Skills and Knowledge’
In her new book Building a Better Teacher, Chalkbeat CEO Elizabeth Green obsessively explores what good teaching looks and sounds like - and whether the most effective teachers are “born for the blackboard,” in her words. Green’s quest takes her to schools of education and to classrooms in the United States and Japan, where she observes an array of methods and practices. Elizabeth Green Green finds that good teaching is “a complex craft,’’ but that “far […]

August 08, 2014

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6:00 PM | MOOCs Will Never Replace Real College. They'll Just Fix It
Unbundled! Revolution! Disruptive technology! For the last decade or so education futurists have been predicting radical changes to the structure of American colleges as a result of advances in technology. While certainly students use more new and innovate gadgets in college —indeed, many of these gadgets are a crucial part of their courses—the revolution hasn’t really happened. The basic structure of college, and its pricing, remains unchanged. As Benjamin Winterhalter puts […]
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1:53 PM | Are Some Elite Colleges Understating Net Prices?
As a faculty member researching higher education finance, I’m used to seeing the limitations in federal data available to students and their families as they choose colleges. For example, the net price of attendance measure (measured as tuition and fees, room and board, books, and other expenses less any grants received) is only for first-time, full-time students—and therefore excludes a lot of students with great financial need. But a new graphic-heavy report from The Chronicle of […]
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1:49 PM | As State Pre-K Expands, Where Does Head Start Fit In?
Much of the expanding policy conversation around early childhood education has revolved around state pre-K. Head Start, the country’s largest early education program, has been somewhat left out of the conversation. Providing approximately one million children from low-income families with comprehensive services, Head Start can play a pivotal role in the lives of many youngsters. When implemented well, Head Start can be a high-quality pre-K model. However, the program has its critics and […]

August 07, 2014

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6:28 PM | Streamlining in Early Ed Doesn't Mean Eliminating Programs
Observers of early childhood education in the U.S., from parents to researchers to policymakers, would be hard-pressed to find much evidence that the country has any system at all. Child care providers are siloed from pre-K teachers, who are often removed from opportunities available to K-12 schools. Families face a hodgepodge of eligibility rules and requirements as they move from home visiting to Head Start (or to a state-funded pre-K program). Even federal funding streams barely intersect, […]
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4:31 PM | Building a Better Student Loan Default Measure
Student loan default rates have been a hot political topic as of late given increased accountability pressures at the federal level. Currently, colleges can lose access to all federal financial aid (grants as well as loans) if more than 25% of students defaulted on their loans within two years of leaving college for three consecutive cohorts. Starting later this year, the measure used will be the default rate within three years of leaving college, and the cutoff for federal eligibility will […]
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4:00 PM | No, We Can't 'Coach' the Poor to Success in College
A new book, Mentoring At-Risk Students through the Hidden Curriculum of Education, by Buffy Smith, an associate professor of sociology and criminal justice at Minnesota’s University of St. Thomas, argues that colleges should help low-income students by trying to help them navigate American higher education’s “hidden curriculum.” Because, in theory, once the historically disadvantaged understand the hidden rules of college, then they’ll get it and succeed. There is […]

August 06, 2014

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4:56 PM | Why Does UVA's Board Need a Gag Rule?
Apparently the University of Virginia, which back in 2012 got into a lot of trouble when the school’s Board of Visitors tried to fire its popular president for her lack of enthusiasm for an ambiguous plan to move toward more technology and Internet-based instruction, had a new plan to try to avoid controversy. Under new rules made public by the Washington Post, members of the school’s board would no longer be allowed to speaking publically if they had any object to decisions […]
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2:51 PM | The Common Core State Standards Aren't a Big Deal
In a new column at Talking Points Memo, Conor P. Williams points out that, despite the superheated rhetoric, the Common Core State Standards are really pretty boring policy. But we should still stick with them. Common Core standards are neither a curse nor a cure-all. Neither pox nor panacea. But we should still stick with them. Why? Here’s something that most Americans don’t realize about our education system: we rarely have a good idea about what’s going on. We spend […]

August 05, 2014

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2:55 PM | Why Education Colleges Need to Move Out of the Ivory Tower and into Urban Schools
It’s time to move teacher-training programs to where they belong - the schools. Teachers in training simply don’t spend enough time developing the relationships and skills required to become effective, persisting professionals. Accordingly, teacher-training programs must adjust to give aspiring teachers more time in the actual settings candidates aspire to work in. However, adjusting academic programs to allow teacher candidates to train longer than the traditional 12-week student […]

August 04, 2014

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5:42 PM | Reflections on the Underemployment of College Graduates
Most people — and especially parents of 20-something college graduates — know that the job market is particularly tough right now for recent college grads. But so tough that about half of them are either unemployed or underemployed? That is what analysts for the New York Federal Reserve Bank of New York calculated, in a January, 2014, report, “Are Recent College Graduates Finding Good Jobs?”  Defining “underemployed as working in low-paid jobs that don’t […]
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2:47 PM | At Troubled Detroit Schools, Adjusting to More Class Time
DETROIT --Many of Malik Canty’s classmates left Southeastern High School of Technology and Law last summer when they discovered the school year would no longer end in June but barrel straight through to August. Malik, though, could see the value in the new requirement. And he thought his peers at other schools in the city, let loose for the summer while he was still in class, would have been better off sticking it out like he did. Coming from Detroit Public Schools, the 17-year-old said, […]

August 01, 2014

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6:00 PM | Common Core Has a Messaging Problem. It Also Has a Real Problem.
Recently Stephanie Simon over at Politico wrote that opposition to the Common Core State Standards Initiative, a project to bring state curricula into alignment and improve the quality of American education by requiring common, high-level examinations, is escalating because Common Core advocates have been “fighting emotion with talking points.” But things might get better because advocates will now change their focus in order to ...get Americans angry about the current state of […]
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1:39 PM | A Look at Mississippi's Request to End Cheating, with Tests Included
Last week, the Mississippi Department of Education requested $1 million from the state legislature to combat cheating on statewide examinations. The request comes on the heels of alleged cheating systems The Clarion-Ledger wrote about at Clarksdale’s Heidelberg Elementary School earlier this year. Thereafter the state’s education department spent $300,000 to hire Utah-based consultant Caveon Test Security to investigate the Heidelberg case. The case comes amid a spate of cheating […]
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1:26 PM | Surrounded by Messy School Reform and "Drama" on the Streets, a Newark Girl Tries to Land on Her Feet
NEWARK, N.J. -- Nydresha is a small girl with big dreams about Hawaii. In her dreams, the 12-year-old and her mother live in a beach house. There is peace, and there is quiet. There is no drama, no abandoned houses and no cursing -- not even by Nydresha herself. She curses sometimes in real life but always feels badly about it afterwards. Nydresha’s mother, known on the streets as Lil’ Bit for the tiny stature she passed on to her only child, likes how the girl thinks. She’d […]
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4:00 AM | More Education for Women No Longer Means More Divorce
For decades one of the awkward things about education achievement is that, while we all kind of thought education was a good thing, there were unintended consequences. Some of the outcomes for educated people turned out not be so great for society itself. In particular, women who were better educated than their husband were more likely to get divorced. It’s not true anymore. According to a study published recently in the American Sociological Review: The reversal of the gender gap in […]

July 31, 2014

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5:55 PM | Financial Aid as Deception
What’s wrong with financial aid in America? A lot, for sure, but one of the common responses when critics complain about the high cost of college in America is that colleges also offer quite generous financial aid packages to students. We discount everything in America when we sell it. Why should college be any different? But that’s a problem, argues Sara Goldrick-Rab, associate professor of educational policy studies and sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. As she […]
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2:48 PM | Huge Confusion in Mississippi Over Common Core
It’s been called a federal curriculum, the end of literature lessons, and even, here in Mississippi, a “Muslim takeover of schools.” The Common Core, a set of math and English language arts standards that spells out what skills students are expected to master in kindergarten through twelfth grade, will be rolled out in every Mississippi school this year. The new standards are not a curriculum; instead they set benchmarks for math and English achievement in each grade. In 2010, […]
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